The fear virus can infect every part of our soul, preventing us from even attempting to achieve something more than we have done before. What if it goes wrong? What if it’s the wrong decision? What if… I dunno… ALIENS?
What if you spend your whole life afraid?
It’s easy to do. So easy that for one reason or another most people don’t ever get close to meeting their full potential. It’s easy to get into the rut of the Calf Path and trudge through life. In fact, it’s pretty much what is expected.
In 2012 “Fearless” Felix Baumgartner became the first man to break the sound barrier without a vehicle when he jumped out of a balloon from the stratosphere, reaching speeds well over 800mph. Afterward, Baumgartner had this to say,
“When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble, you do not think about breaking records anymore, you do not think about gaining scientific data. The only thing you want is to come back alive.”
Baumgartner didn’t simply get up one day and decide to do this, he trained for it. He had jumped out of planes with a parachute many, many times before. He took baby steps at immunizing against fear, but they were still steps and he just didn’t stop walking. One of the great things about NLP is a mind-hack where a future memory is created. You think of where you want to be in six months, a year, five years etc, then you work backwards imagining the steps it took to get there. When you have “seen” the path you took to achieve your goal you work backwards and take those steps in real life. Each new step is a step out of the comfort zone, but not so far that you can’t still keep the previous step as a touchstone to let you know you’ll be OK. Each step you take, each time you are able to combat a slice of fear, no matter how small, you are building your immunity.
The reality is that fear isn’t bad, it is necessary. It keeps us alive, protects us from harm, pain, death, and should be a voice of reason for those decisions that really aren’t that clever. Don’t ignore fear, listen to it, it may have something of value to offer, but don’t let it have the final say. That said, don’t spend too much time around people who are going to infect you. You wouldn’t get close to someone with the flu if you were trying to be healthy, so why let someone sick with the fear virus near your mind? Don’t do it. I’m not saying drop your friends or avoid your family, just be careful how much exposure you allow to the fear virus. Some people are more contagious than others and fear can be a wholly debilitating sickness. If you know you are going to be around someone who is contagious with fear, immunize yourself first.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – When fear speaks there are other members on the decision-making committee who also have a voice – Reason, hope, optimism, self-esteem, caution, adventure… Fear has a rightful place at the discussion table, it is one voice among many others. Don’t let fear have the final say.
2 – Stay positive. This isn’t some cheesy middle-manager thing where you believe perception is reality, (perception is simply a view of reality and it may be very far off reality), or chanting a mantra of “what you believe – you achieve”. This is just fluff and garbage people write on pictures of mountains to make money. Accept reality, know the challenges, and know when the virus is taking hold.
3 – Build up your immunity by slowly exposing yourself to things that give it life, and ensure you have people around you who can keep you grounded in reality, and support you as you move forward.
Ultimately the fear virus is beaten by maintaining a focus on the steps you need to take to meet your goals, and keeping your mind on positive outcomes.
As Peter Gabriel says in the song Darkness:
“When I allow it to be, it has no control over me,
I own my fear, so it doesn’t own me.”
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